Three years ago this summer marks getting my first restaurant job. I worked at Macaroni Grill in Westlake (the rich part of Austin). I started as a waitress and after a week of training/crying in my car on breaks, I decided waiting tables was not for me and became head hostess. Working at Macaroni Grill was fun, since there were a TON of other people my age working and the managers were crazy, so it was always exciting. As the hostess, the waiters would all gather around my podium during downtime, and it was easy to make friends.
I had no idea that two of these new friends would be two of the most important people in my life!
I met my boyfriend Scott there (we hated each other at first- that’s a cute story for another time). And I met my best friend Estevan at Macaroni Grill. At first, I liked him because he was sweet and a good waiter (and hostesses love waiters who can handle their shit during a crowded shift), and he had started just a few weeks before I had. He also stressed me out a little since I always spelled his name wrong on my seating chart (Esteban) and he seemed really content in his skin, as in he didn’t seem to care whether we were friends or not.
As that summer progressed, Estevan and I became extremely close. We would catch each other’s eyes from across the room when one of the waiters we hated was being their table-stealing, smarmy selves, and we didn’t mind just standing together and being quiet at my podium, since we’re both more shy than chatty by nature. We are very similar, despite the fact that he is a gay playwright from El Paso and I’m the blonde girl whose New Jersey accent comes out when she’s mad. He’s the one who forced me on the stage during karaoke night to belt out Billie Jean with him, and the one who helped me order my first drink in a bar when I was not yet 21 (oops).
This is the two of us hanging out last night at his new place, after a night of white wine (with ice cubes cause we’re classy) and homemade plantain sandwiches. Eventually, as always, Scott and Chris- Esty’s partner who I also met at Macaroni Grill when he came to pick Estevan up one night- joined us.
We have been through so much, but always crack up at the fact that our roots were laid the summer we both worked at the chain restaurant Macaroni Grill. We can talk for hours or enjoy the quiet together, even three years later.
That’s the thing with working a shitty restaurant job in the suburbs. You never think that it’s going to be the place where you meet your best friend.